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Please Don't Tell

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Isak had done something bad. Really bad. And tonight he was going to drown his sorrows in an attempt to try and forget his shitty actions.

He’d heard about the party from someone in his Norwegian class. Two girls had been talking about it, giggling together as they discussed which Penetrator boys they had their eyes on. Isak had just rolled his eyes at their conversation. He didn’t understand the hype around the so-called ‘Penetrators’. From what he gathered they were a bunch of arseholes that screwed around and left their conquests with stupid hoodies to mark them like a trophy. The whole idea disgusted Isak and he tried to keep his distance from the group. He and Jonas had an unspoken pact that they would never attend one of their parties, no matter the hype that surrounded it. Neither of them wanted any sort of association with a bunch of guys who treated girls like slaps of meat.

But then shit happened and Isak suddenly found that a Penetrator party was a perfect idea. He needed to clear his head, to try to wash out the memory of his mistake and what better way to do that than indulge himself with cheap beer and vodka? Isak found it to be his perfect concoction for letting loose and that was exactly what he needed: a distraction to keep his mind off of his betrayal. So what if it would leave him feeling like crap in the morning? It was what he needed now.

He didn’t ask Jonas to come along. Isak knew that, with the mass amount of guilt he was already feeling, he would end up muttering something to Jonas in his drunken state and he wasn’t ready to risk their friendship. He knew that if his best friend found out about Eva and Chris’ hookup he would be devastated, especially hearing it from Isak of all people. Isak didn’t plan on telling him. What was the point? The whole school was going to know by the end of the week, anyway. He could just let the gossip reach Jonas instead of telling him himself, that way Isak didn’t have to see the pain on his best friend’s face when the words about his girlfriend’s betrayal reached him. Isak knew that he was being selfish by putting his own needs before his best friend’s but he couldn’t bear to break the news. He cared for Jonas too much.


 

At around 22:00 Isak arrived at the party. He could hear music blaring from inside the house (Chris’ he assumed) and there were people stood outside talking and drinking and smoking. Isak knew how stupid he looked: a small, skinny first year all alone carrying a plastic bag filled with cheap booze. But beyond this point, he didn’t care. All he wanted was to go inside and get so drunk that he wouldn’t be able to remember what he had done, maybe he’d even find someone to score some weed off too.

Isak was quick to enter the house, pushing past the groups of people gathered on the lawn to make it to the party. As he made his way inside, he was instantly hit with the thumping sound of music and the stench of alcohol, sweat and smoke all mixed together. Isak found that it wasn’t particularly unpleasant and, instead, was rather endearing. This is where I need to be, the blonde boy thought. This is my distraction.

It was cramped inside and it didn’t take long for Isak to be pressed up against the random strangers surrounding him. The turnout wasn’t a particular surprise to him, the Penetrator parties were infamous and everyone in the school wanted to attend. Especially first years, who desired popularity and figured that the only way to achieve it was to make themselves noticed at parties and possibly jump into bed with one of the Penetrator boys. Isak found the concept of popularity ridiculous: it was just high school, what was the big deal?


 

After managing to push his way through the crowds of people, Isak found himself in the garden, which was only occupied by one or two other people. The concept of being in the midst of crowds of drunk teenagers and listening to loud, blaring music sounded good at first, but now it had only resulted in a thumping headache and barely provided a distraction. I might as well just go home, Isak thought. There’s nothing for me here, parties are boring with Jonas.

“Hey.”

A deep voice disrupted Isak’s thoughts and he spun around to be faced with a tall figure. His blonde hair was swept up into a quiff and his blue eyes were illuminated by the dim lights pinned up against the wall. His cheeks were slightly flushed from the cold wind and a small grin was on his lips. Even Bech Næsheim.

Even was one of the many Penetrator boys that occupied Hartvig Nissen School. Everyone knew who he was, even Isak who tried to dissociate himself from that particular group. Even was known for being considerably kind, an asset that made him stand out amongst his other friends, and there was a notable lack of girls walking around branded by his name. He was different and Isak would be lying if he said he hadn’t wondered why Even was a part of the Penetrators. He would also be lying if he said that his eyes had never lingered on the older boy if he passed him in the hallway or followed him as he moved. But nobody needed to know that.

After a few moments of silence, Isak muttered a “hey” in return before looking to the ground, his shoe suddenly the most interesting thing in the world. He told himself that the warm flush he could feel rising to his cheeks was from the cold air and not from the boy stood before him. No, Isak wasn’t affected by this boy. He couldn’t be.

The Penetrator boy pulled something out from behind his ear and Isak lifted his gaze to see what he was holding between his fingers: a joint. Even raised his eyebrows suggestively at the younger boy before bringing the blunt up to his lips so that he could light it with the lighter in his other hand. Isak desperately tried to not let his eyes travel to Even’s lips but, when they finally did he insisted that it was to stare at the joint he so ‘desperately desired’ and not to gaze upon his plump lips that he’d heard so many girls fantasise about.

Isak was pulled out of his trance when Even extended his hand, offering the younger boy the joint. He slowly accepted it and brought it up to his own lips, letting out a quiet sigh of relief when he took a drag. It was already soothing him, exactly what he needed.

“I’m Even.” The Penetrator boy introduced as he accepted the joint back off Isak.

“Isak.” The younger boy responded, his voice a weak mumble in comparison to Even’s confident tone.

“I know,” Even responded and Isak furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. He knew? “First year, right?”

Isak nodded slowly in confirmation before accepting the joint off Even once again. The weed was helping sooth his racing mind, but not the confusion he had been feeling from Even’s appearance.

It was quiet as the two silently passed the joint between each other. Their fingers occasionally brushed and Isak didn’t shiver at the contact. Of course he didn’t. Even wouldn’t have any sort of effect on him, would he? No, Isak thought. I’m not like that.

“You’re not much of a talker, are you?” Even broke the silence, a teasing smile on his lips.

Isak shrugged. “Sorry.” He muttered an apology, looking down at his feet once again.

“That’s okay.” Even smiled, stubbing out the remains of the joint before flicking it into the ashtray that was occupying the table. “Do you want another?” He nodded towards the empty beer can in Isak’s hands and the younger boy nodded.

“Sure.” Even left and returned quickly, carrying two fresh cans of whatever cheap beer was in the kitchen. “Thanks.” Isak sent Even a small smile before clicking open his can.

“No problem.” Even returned the smile before opening his own can and raising it to Isak. “Cheers.”

Isak watched Even for a moment before tapping their drinks together. “Cheers.”


“…And that’s why we’re called the Penetrators.” Even finished off his story with a grin, followed by a laugh from Isak. An hour had passed since Even had approached him and the two now found themselves sat on the grass at the end of the garden, sipping on beer and passing another joint between them.

“That’s so stupid.” Isak chuckled, shaking his head before taking a drag of their fresh joint. He had found himself growing comfortable around Even very quickly, and the two were talking as if they were old friends.

“Isn’t it?” Even laughed along with Isak before taking a sip from his can. “Makes for a good story, though.”

Isak nodded in agreement as he passed the joint back. He was quiet for a moment before taking a sip of his drink. “Why are you a part of the Penetrators? You’re nothing like them.” He asked suddenly. He realised how his question sounded and internally groaned. “If you don’t mind me asking.” He quickly covered up.

Even was frozen for a moment before shrugging and sending Isak a smile. “It’s okay.” He reassured. “I’ve been friends with Chris and William for years. We met when we were kids and have grown up together, it didn’t feel right to not be on a bus with them.” He took a drag of the joint as Isak listened closely, his eyes carefully watching Even’s face as he told his story. “I may not agree with everything they do and stand for, but they’re my friends. They’ve all stuck by me through some really hard times.” Even smiled slightly as he spoke. “It may seem like they’re all arseholes, but they’re really great friends.”

Isak didn’t realise how his eyes lingered on Even’s face, even after he had finished speaking. He found himself becoming more and more entranced by the older boy and couldn’t bring himself to look away. He was beautiful, even if he didn’t want to admit it to himself. He wasn’t like that.

“What about you?” Even questioned, bringing the joint back to his lips which did not faze Isak at all. “You got any friends? Or is that a stupid question? I mean, you did come here alone.” The older boy teased with a grin.

“Fuck off.” Isak chuckled slightly, shoving Even with his shoulder. “I have this one friend. Jonas.”

“Yeah?” The younger boy smiled back and nodded.

“He’s great, the best friend you could ask for.” A slight blush made its way to Isak’s cheeks, obviously from the cold wind and not anything else. “We’ve been friends since the first day of school, back when we were six. I didn’t know anyone in the class and the teacher sat us in alphabetical order, luckily our last names both began with V. I was shy but he spoke to me right away and it wasn’t long until we were both best friends, and we’ve been like ever since.” Isak didn’t realise he was gushing, but once he got talking about Jonas he couldn’t stop. There were so many amazing things he could say about his best friend and he couldn’t stop himself.

“He’s always been there for me through everything, the best friend I could ask for. He never fails to turn up, even though he has a girlfriend. He always make sure he has time for me, makes sure I don’t feel excluded from anything.” Isak smiled softly as he spoke about his best friend. The weed and beer had loosened his tongue and he found that he couldn’t stop talking about Jonas. Even reciprocated Isak’s smile, finding the boy’s rambles adorable. “He’s so trustworthy and honest. We tell each other everything.” Isak felt a sadness fall over him and his smile faltered, very slowly becoming a frown. That wasn’t true, not anymore. Isak had kept something big from his best friend and, instead, had told the school. Jonas would hate him if he found out.

Even noticed Isak’s change of mood. “You okay?” He asked.

Isak shook his head and looked down at his can, his fingers fiddling with the little silver clip. “I fucked up.” He muttered, not being able to stop himself from announcing the truth.

“How?” Even asked, the tone of his gentle and almost soothing.

“I don’t tell Jonas everything.” The younger boy said quietly, looking up to meet the Penetrator’s soft gaze. “I kept something really big from him.”

“I’m sure it can’t be that bad.” Even smiled encouragingly and Isak shook his head.

“It is.” He said sadly, looking back down at his can to avoid Even’s gaze. He knew as soon as he found out the truth his soft eyes would turn into judgemental ones and, oddly, he didn’t want the older boy to look at him that way. There was something about him that Isak found comfort in and he found that he trusted him enough to tell him his mistake. “His girlfriend cheated on him and I never told him.” Guilt overwhelmed Isak and he looked up cautiously to see how Even had reacted.

Even’s eyes weren’t harsh or judgemental, instead, he held the same soft gaze he had looked at Isak with previously. “You can still tell him, you know? There isn’t a set time limit on telling someone something.”

“That’s not all of it,” Isak muttered, his voice breaking slightly. Even stayed quiet, leaving the younger boy room to continue. “I… I’ve told someone about it. But it wasn’t Jonas.” Isak waited for Even to interrupt, to tell him how much of a horrible friend he was for telling someone else what had happened before telling the person it would directly affect.

“Do you maybe want to tell the whole story?” Even pushed gently, giving him an encouraging smile. Isak took a deep breath and nodded.

“A few days ago Eva, Jonas’ girlfriend, told me something. She’d been to some Penetrator party the night before, a Halloween one?” Even nodded, he had been there. “And she was mad at Jonas, she thought he was cheating on him with his ex-girlfriend- which he wasn’t.” Isak interjected to defend his best friend. “And she had been upset and Chris had found her- your Chris- and the two ended up kissing.” Even winced, silently damning Chris for both cheating on his girlfriend and kissing someone else’s. “I reassured her that it was okay and told her not to tell Jonas about it. I said it would ruin things between them and that he didn’t need to know about it. It was just a kiss, right?” Even listened carefully. “But the other night I got super drunk and it was playing on my mind, I couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened. So, in the end, I didn’t tell Jonas. I told Chris’ girlfriend and the Nissenhook account.” Isak cautiously raised his eyes to meet Even’s, ready to see his judgemental gaze. But Even didn’t look at him like that. His soft eyes still hadn’t changed and he gave Isak a sad smile.

“I fucked up, didn’t I?” Isak’s voice was barely audible and Even sighed sadly.

“Maybe a bit.” He responded, shrugging slightly. “But we’ve all done shitty things when we’re drunk. I’m not going to judge you for it.”

“Why?” Isak’s voice broke again as he looked at Even with sad eyes.

“Because you don’t seem like an arsehole.” Even smiled with a slight laugh. “You seem like a caring boy, especially when it comes to this Jonas. You don’t seem like the type of person who intentionally does things to hurt others, otherwise, you wouldn’t feel so guilty about what has happened. And yeah, you’ve made some bad decisions, but don’t let those decisions define you; you’re more than that.”

Isak’s eyes never left Even’s as he spoke. Who was this boy? This boy who could see good in Isak, even though he had betrayed his friends so easily. This boy who made Isak feel comfortable, something he found he rarely felt unless he was surrounded by those he was close to. This boy who filled Isak with warmth and made him feel good. Who was he?

“So yeah, I’m not judging you for what you did. We all make mistakes.” Even shrugged with a smile. Isak doesn’t know what came over him when he felt a sudden surge of bravery run through him and he leaned forward towards Even.

And kissed him. He pressed his lips against Even’s and gripped onto the material of his hoodie with his spare hand. The older boy was still for a few moments before happily kissing him back, bringing his hand up to cup the back of Isak’s head and ran his fingers through his blonde curls. Their lips moved against each other’s messily, Isak obviously inexperienced in comparison to Even. Isak tugged Even closer to him with his grip on the hoodie and he brought his other hand up to cup his jaw when-

“Shit!” Isak pulled back quickly when he realised he had spilt the remains of his drink over Even, not realising his beer can remained in his hand. He looked up at Even and smiled sheepishly but the older boy just laughed, taking the empty can from Isak’s hand and throwing it to the side before bringing his lips back to Isak’s.

Isak eagerly kissed Even back, both of his hands now free to explore the older boy. One trailed up his side, gripping his black hoodie tightly, fingers curling around the material. His other hand made its way up to cup Even’s neck, then jaw, then cheek before finally tangling itself in his blonde hair, messing up the blonde quiff that had previously been perfectly styled. Isak couldn’t stop himself, Even was so intoxicating and he couldn’t bring himself to let him go. Instead, he kissed him deeper, angling his head and fighting Even’s tongue for dominance.

Even’s hands were pressed against Isak’s back and he used them to pull the boy closer to him, dissatisfied with the distance between them. Isak edged closer to him and, soon enough, he was sat in Even’s lap, one leg thrown over each side of his waist. His fingers tugged on the older boy’s hair a little harder and he laughed slightly against his lips. Moments later, he pulled back to grin at Even, who brightly smiled back. The older boy pressed a kiss to Isak’s cheek before trailing more down until his lips were teasing his jaw.

“Do you want to continue this upstairs?” Even murmured against Isak’s skin before looking back up to meet the younger boy’s gaze. Isak stayed still for a moment, unsure of what to do. His mind was in a haze, drunk off beer, weed and Even’s kisses. He was intoxicated by Even and decided that he did want to go with him. Grinning, Isak brought his lips back to Even’s in a hot, messy kiss before pulling back again and nodding.

Even grinned back and he pushed himself up off the grass, also helping Isak to his feet. The two smiled at each other, looking directly into each other’s eyes before the older boy grabbed Isak’s hands and tugged him back towards the party.

 

Chapter Text

The first thing Isak noticed when he woke up was the thumping headache. Great, a hangover, Isak thought. He never dealt well with hangovers, they usually resulted in a day spent hiding under his duvet, avoiding the world.

The second thing Isak noticed was the shouting from downstairs.

“You can’t keep doing this, Marianne!” Terje, Isak’s father, shouted. Isak groaned, he was used to the shouting by now. He just wished he didn’t have to be. “You’re acting crazy! Nothing is coming for you!”

Marianne’s loud sobs echoed up the stairs. “It’s coming for us, Terje, you have to understand! The flood, it’s coming! We have to protect ourselves!” A loud bang came from downstairs, startling Isak.

“There is no flood!” Terje’s voice was angry and Isak was glad he wasn’t present to see the tearful look on his mother’s face. “You’re making this up in your head!” The sound of plates smashing was audible and Isak knew exactly what was happening. In his mother’s head, a flood was coming to ‘purify’ the land of its sins, just like from one of the stories in the Bible. She believed that she had to protect herself, convinced that she was one of the few who God wished to save. The banging was Marianne trying to use things from the kitchen to barricade the doors. This had happened enough for Isak to know what was going on without even being present. They’d had to buy new plates for the kitchen three times this month as well as a new set of chairs.

“Please, Terje!” Marianne begged and Isak’s felt a sadness wash over him. It hurt to see his mother like this. Sometimes he wished she was normal. “We have to protect ourselves! Please, we have to!”

More bangs could be heard and Isak sighed before pulling the duvet over his head to try and block out the shouting. This really wasn’t what he needed right now. He laid in his bed, barricaded by pillows, and tried to wish himself back to sleep but there was no hope, not with the shouting that was going on downstairs.

Groaning, Isak pulled himself out of bed and dragged himself to the bathroom to attempt to nurse the thumping in his head. Maybe a glass of water would do him good. He filled up a cup and eagerly downed it, trying to sooth the dryness in his throat. He refilled it twice and about to go for a third when he noticed something in the bathroom mirror.

There was a dark purple mark on the base of his neck and that was when the previous night dawned on Isak.

As soon as they made it into a bedroom upstairs their jackets had been discarded and Even had Isak pressed up against the door. He brought their lips together again and the younger boy eagerly responded, moving their lips together in sync whilst his hands tugged on the Penetrator’s hair. Even moaned into Isak’s mouth, causing a light laugh to leave the first year’s lips. “You okay?” He murmured with a grin, letting his head fall back against the door. Even shook his head with a chuckle before diving back in for another kiss.

Isak had never felt like this before. Sure, he’d shared a few kisses with girls at parties but none had ever left him feeling like this, so overwhelmed and excited and warm inside. It was something only Even had achieved. He let out a light gasp when he felt the older boy’s cold hands brush against the skin above his hips and he shivered, yet another effect this boy had on him.

“This okay?” Even whispered against Isak’s lips as his hands pushed his shirt up, exposing more skin. Isak was frozen for a moment before nodding with a smile, a smile which Even reciprocated. The older boy’s hands pushed his shirt up even more and Isak raised his arms so that it could be fully taken off.

Even pulled back to look at Isak’s body and the younger boy looked away shyly. He knew he probably wasn’t much to look at, he had nothing on the few girls he had heard about the Penetrator being with. But Even hooked a finger under Isak’s chin and lifted it so that he was looking directly at the younger boy. “You’re beautiful.” He murmured, bringing a soft blush to Isak’s cheeks.

Isak stared back at his reflection in the mirror, frozen. Fuck, what had he done? He wasn’t gay, he couldn’t be, so what had gotten into him to kiss Even? What had possessed him to go upstairs with him? He wasn’t like that. No, he liked girls. He was sure of it. But how was it that Even had made Isak feel things in one kiss that countless other girls had failed to? I was drunk, he told himself. I was drunk and high. I’m not like that. His eyes landed back on the mark left behind on his neck and he brought his hand up to run a finger over it.

Isak landed on his back on the bed and laughed as Even joined him. He kissed him again, deep and passionate, pulling Even towards him so that the older boy was hovering over him. Things were growing heated and Isak was unsure what direction this would go in but at the moment he didn’t care, he just wanted more.

Even detached his lips from Isak and slowly began to press kisses down from the first year’s cheek to his neck. A slight moan left Isak when the Penetrator began to pay attention to a certain spot on the base of his neck. He played with Even’s hair as he tilted his head to the side, offering him more room to continue his pleasurable act. At the moment, he didn’t want to be anywhere else. No one had ever made Isak feel the way Even made him feel.

Pushing himself up onto his elbow, Even looked down at Isak and grinned at his work. He ran his thumb over the mark he had left behind, earning a quiet gasp from the boy underneath him. Isak couldn’t help but admire the Penetrator above him. He was beautiful, breath-taking and he wanted nothing more than to be with him in this very moment.

Even’s lips returned to Isak’s, who happily welcomed them. Whilst their lips moved together in sync, the older boy’s hands slowly moved down Isak’s body until they reached the hem of his jeans. The younger boy shuddered at Even’s touch and tugged on his messed up hair a little harder. Even’s fingers played with the button of Isak’s jeans and he pulled back, looking in the first year’s eyes for any sort of confirmation that he was okay with this.

Isak smiled up at Even and nodded. “It’s okay.” He murmured, gently running a thumb over the older boy’s cheekbone. The look on his face was encouraging and Even smiled back softly before kissing Isak yet again. His hands continued their work, quickly unbuttoning Isak’s jeans before pushing them down and-

Isak was pulled out of his memories by another bang from downstairs. There was more shouting: more violent sobs from his mother and loud retaliations from his father. He wished it would just stop. Why couldn’t he have a normal family with a normal, healthy mother and a normal dad who wasn’t an arsehole and a normal sister who doesn’t fuck off to Berlin the first chance she gets?

His parent's continuous arguing didn’t distract him for long and soon enough Isak’s thoughts were back to the previous night. He tried to block out Even’s voice, laugh, gasps, moan. He tried to block out all of him. I’m not like that, Isak told himself. It meant nothing. I was just drunk and high and Even was being nice to me. It meant nothing.

Isak looked down to find his hands shaking and he quickly stuffed them into the pockets of his jeans he must have fallen asleep in the night before. Even wasn’t having an effect on him. Why would Even have an effect on him? It didn’t mean anything, Isak continued to tell himself. You were just drunk, it’s okay. You’re not like that. It didn’t mean anything. But Even wouldn’t leave his thoughts. When he closed his eyes all he could see was the older boy: smiling, laughing, the lustful look in his eyes as he kissed down his body. Even wouldn’t leave him alone.

A thought dawned on Isak and his eyes widened. What if Even told someone? He was a Penetrator, they were notorious for things like this. It was no secret to the school that the boys liked to delve into each other’s escapades. Even isn’t like that, Isak told himself. He’s different. But what if he wasn’t so different? What if Even told the other boys about his night with Isak? If he did, it wouldn’t take long for the rest of the school to find out. What if they all thought Isak was gay? He wasn’t gay, of course he wasn’t gay. They would all get the wrong idea. It was one night of weakness; he was drunk and Even was there to comfort him. That didn’t make him gay. The Penetrator boy just gave him the support he needed. It didn’t mean anything.

Isak’s breathing began to pick up as he began to panic. No one could know what happened, they’d all make assumptions and rumours would be spread and the whole school would be looking at Isak. They would all think he was something he wasn’t, no matter how many times he would tell them it wasn’t true. Shit, what if it got back to his parents? He doubted his mum would accept a gay son, no matter what he told her. And his dad, what would his dad think?

The frantic thoughts running through Isak’s head were disrupted, yet again, by loud noises coming from downstairs. A door slammed and Isak sighed, knowing that signified his father had left. This wasn’t an uncommon occurrence; his father had a tendency to disappear when his mum was like this. He didn’t know where he would go, he was never drunk when he came back which, to Isak, was a surprise. Wouldn’t most men who had a crazy wife go out to get shitfaced to distract them from their problems? Maybe that was just Isak’s way of dealing with things.

His mother’s cries echoed from downstairs and Isak sighed before heading down to help her. When he found her she was pushing the kitchen chairs against the door, barricading them inside, and muttering under her breath. Shattered plates covered the floor and Isak internally groaned before kneeling down and picking up the pieces.

“Everything’s okay, mamma,” Isak said quietly, not looking up from the floor. He didn’t want to look at her. He didn’t want to see her tired, worn out face that was still wet with tears. She was a ghost of the mother he had growing up; the woman who read stories to him before bed and kissed his forehead before school and baked him cookies for his birthday. Sometimes he wished he could have that woman back. “Nothing is coming to hurt us.”

Marianne turned around to look at Isak with wide eyes and the smallest of smiles made its way to her lips. “Isak!” She said happily. “You can help me block the doors. We need to keep ourselves safe so that we’re protected from the flood.”

Isak sighed at the mention of the flood. “There’s no flood coming, mamma.” He said quietly, standing up to put the shattered plate in the bin. “We’re safe.”

Marianne shook her head. “You’re wrong.” She said defensively, going back to pushing things up against the door. “It’s coming, Isak. We need to be ready.”

Another sad sigh left Isak as he watched his mother and, for her own benefit, helped her block the door.


An hour later, Isak had managed to put his mother to bed. It was a ritual now. On her bad days, he would stay with her until she exhausted herself out and then he would take care of her. Who else was going to? His dad wasn’t here to help and Lea had been gone for almost a year now and had barely made contact with them since her departure. There was no one left for Marianne besides Isak.

Now that his mother was settled and everything in the kitchen was back in its proper place, Isak made his way back to his room and flopped down onto the bed, tiredness hitting him hard. The pain in his head from his hangover had faded to a dull ache and now all Isak wanted to do was sleep. His eyes felt heavy and he was almost asleep until his phone vibrated.

Isak froze and his thoughts automatically turned to the worst. Had Even told someone? Was this the start of the endless questions and rumours and gossip? Isak hesitantly checked his phone and let out a sigh of relief. It was only Jonas.

Jonas

Where are you, bro ???
Are you not coming to school?

Shit. Isak had completely forgotten that he had school, too wrapped up in his mother, hangover and previous night to even think about it. Isak was normally happy to go to school as he got to spend most the day in classes with his best friend, he loved being with him. The first year had never been more happy than when he was with Jonas. You were pretty happy last night, a part of Isak thought and he quickly shunned himself. It didn’t mean anything. I’m not like that.

Jonas

sorry
something came up at home

Isak felt a little bit of guilt lying to Jonas, but he didn’t want his best friend to know that he had broken their unspoken rule of never going to a Penetrator party.

Jonas

Shit, is everything okay???

Isak smiled down at his phone. Jonas was always making sure he was okay, it made him feel warm and special. He felt so lucky that he had Jonas.

Jonas

it will be
thanks for asking


It’s okay, bro
I hope things get better soon <3

Isak’s heart warmed when he saw the heart at the end of Jonas’ message. He paused for a moment before sending his next message.

Jonas

thanks <3


It was Friday and Isak finally had to face the music. He didn’t want to go, he wanted to stay wrapped up in his bed and hide from the world. He was scared; what if everyone at school knew about him and Even? Well, there was no ‘him and Even’ but what if they knew what they did? Isak didn’t think he’d be able to bear the stares and whispers, not with everything else going on in his life.

Jonas was waiting for him outside of the school and grinned at him as he approached. Isak’s felt a mixture of warmth and cold inside of him. He still felt absolutely awful about not telling Jonas about Eva and Chris’ kiss and telling Chris’ girlfriend (Iben?) instead. He was terrified to see the consequences of his actions; what would happen to Eva? What drama would he have caused?

“Hey,” Jonas greeted, wrapping his arm around Isak and patting his back in a ‘bro hug’. Sometimes Isak wished he would give him a real hug, but he wouldn’t admit that to anyone.

“Hey,” Isak said, trying to sound as enthusiastic as Jonas did. His best friend gave him a small, sad smile.

“Everything okay?” He asked, his voice soft and caring. Isak’s mind flashed back to his night with Even where he asked him those same words. He had felt compelled to tell the older boy about his woes, so why didn’t he feel like that with Jonas?

“Yeah,” Isak shrugged. “Things are getting better.” Why are you lying to him? A part of him questioned. You were honest enough with Even the other night.

“I’m glad.” Jonas smiled. “But if things start to get bad again don’t be afraid to-”

“Jonas!” A voice shouted and the two boys turned around to see Elias heading in their direction. Isak sighed quietly and turned away. He didn’t like Elias, he hated him in fact. He made him feel uncomfortable and his offhanded comments about Isak being gay made him shiver. I’m not gay Isak would always retaliate and that was true, right? Of course he wasn’t gay.

“Bro!” Jonas grinned, bumping fists with Elias in greeting and Isak knew that his alone time with his best friend was over. He sometimes felt pushed aside when Elias was around, Jonas always seeming more eager to talk to the older boy than to his actual best friend. He knew he shouldn’t be this bitter, Jonas was allowed to have other friends, but sometimes he wished that he was the one his best friend got excited about seeing.

Jonas and Elias began talking and Isak knew it was a conversation he wasn’t really invited into. He excused himself, muttering goodbyes to them both, before heading into the school. His eyes kept looking around, anxious to see if any eyes were following him and he listened out for his name in any conversation. But he heard and saw nothing. No intruding stares or harsh whispers. Nothing. Even must have not said anything. Or, at least, not yet.

Isak made it to his locker with plenty of time to spare. Still looking around in an act of self-preservation, he opened his locker to grab his things for his morning class. Well, he tried to. His stupid locker never seemed to want to open, and it often took Isak a lot of angry tugs and hitting to get it to open. He groaned as he tried to pull it open but was making no success. He ran a hand through his blonde curls frustratingly and that was when something caught his eye.

Standing only a few feet away, in all his glory, was Even. Dressed in the typical Penetrator hoodie and denim jacket, the older boy was surrounded by his other Bus friends and they were all laughing about something. Isak panicked. What if they were laughing at him? But his name was never mentioned, not once amongst the laughs of the Penetrators.

A few moments later, Even looked up and his eye caught Isak’s gaze. The younger boy quickly looked away, desperately wishing that Even hadn’t seen him. His attempts at opening his locker quickened but they all failed and, from the corner of his eye, Isak could see the older boy leave his group of friends and head in this direction.

Isak’s heart began to race in his chest. He didn’t want to talk to Even, he didn’t want to see him. The sight of the older boy brought back all the memories from that night and Isak had tried so desperately to forget them. He wasn’t like that. But Even’s voice still haunted him and Isak wasn’t ready to hear it again. When he realised that he wasn’t going to get his locker open in time to avoid Even, the younger boy hit it with his fist in frustration before turning on his heel and quickly walking the other way, even though it was the wrong direction for his first class. He wanted to avoid a confrontation.


 

It was nearing the end of the day and Isak had successfully managed to avoid Even. He guessed that the older boy had got the message by now: Isak didn’t want to talk to him. He felt as if he was being a little harsh, Even looked as if he was almost excited to see him again and Isak had just walked away (ran away would fit better). And, maybe, a part of Isak was excited to see Even too, but no one had to know that.

He stood in the courtyard waiting for Jonas so that they could walk to Norwegian together. He could see him across the yard with Eva, the two of them sharing secret smiles and kisses. Isak felt the familiar pang of sadness he would constantly feel when he saw them together like that. He didn’t understand why; he was happy for his best friend and he could see how happy Eva made him. It was moments like this where Isak really wished he hadn’t fucked up.

Jonas approached him after giving Eva a few more goodbye kisses. A stupid grin was on his face and he bumped fists with Isak when he reached him.

“So,” Isak cleared his throat before nodding in Eva’s direction. “Things are going good?” He tried to not let the goofy grin Jonas displayed bother him.

“Yeah.” Jonas sounded happy and Isak desperately wished that he felt that way for the couple too. “Things have been great since Halloween. It’s like how things were when we first got together.” Oh yes, Isak remembered that. The constant kisses and touches and secrets. The constant ‘Me and Eva are gonna head out’ Isak heard when it was painfully obvious what they were going to do. But he’s happy, Isak told himself. They both are. Isn’t that enough for you?

Isak sent Jonas a slightly forced grin and nudged his shoulder. Be happy for him, he repeated to him. “Thank god,” he rolled his eyes playfully. “I was getting bored of your moping around.”

“I didn’t mope!” Jonas said defensively and Isak laughed. This is what he enjoyed, their friendly banter. This was them, this was what they did.

“You did.” Isak retaliated. “Especially when you were high. All I heard was ‘Why won’t Eva trust me?’ and ‘I don’t understand why Eva’s mad at me’. It got very repetitive.” He teased and Jonas shoved him in return. He was about to say something back when a loud shriek was heard from across the courtyard and both their heads snapped around to see where it was coming from.

Isak’s stomach dropped. Across the courtyard was Eva and her friends were being confronted by Chris’ girlfriend and her friends. They turned around just in time to see Iben hit Eva before the fight broke out. Both sets of girls were pushing each other and violent shouts could be heard. Isak could make out the words “fucking whore” and his insides fell cold.

“Fuck!” Jonas swore and he quickly headed in the direction of his girlfriend and Isak went to follow but he was frozen. This was all because of him. Iben hitting Eva, the two sets of girls confronting each other, Eva’s secret getting out. It was all his fault.

Isak caught sight of a bunch of Penetrator boys stood watching the fight. They were all laughing and cheering it on with a few boys nudging Chris, who was in the centre of the group, teasing him about his girlfriend. Of course they found it hilarious, this was the sort of thing they lived for. But there was one boy who wasn’t laughing, a tall, blonde boy who Isak had been avoiding all day. A boy who had been haunting his thoughts ever since the night they spent together. Their eyes met for a brief moment. They both knew that this was Isak’s fault.

 

 

Chapter Text

“I don’t get it,” Jonas said, his voice sad. Isak had headed to Jonas’ place after school had finished and his best friend was letting out his anger and his pain. “She was the one who didn’t trust me. She thought I was cheating.” He threw himself onto his bed. “I just don’t get it.”

Isak stayed silent from his seat in the corner, unable to think of what to say. He had caused this. If he had just kept his mouth shut then Jonas wouldn’t have found out and he and Eva would still be happy together. But Jonas deserved to know, a part of Isak reminded him. “And she didn’t even tell me herself!” Isak sank back in the chair as if he were trying to hide away. Another thing that was his fault; he’d told Eva not to tell Jonas. He was the worst friend ever.

Jonas’ ringtone went off again and he groaned, reading it before throwing his phone onto the bed. “She won’t stop texting.” He sighed, tugging on his dark curls. Isak continued his silence, wanting to console his best friend but unable to find the words to do so. He was also afraid that his words would betray him and tell Jonas the truth, and he didn’t want the other boy to be mad at him too. It hurt him when Jonas was mad at him.

Jonas’ phone buzzed again and Isak sighed quietly. “Maybe you should talk to her.” He offered with a shrug. He felt bad for Eva. He knew how much she regretted it and he wanted to tell Jonas, but Isak was selfish and didn’t want to risk his own friendship with the boy.

“I can’t.” Jonas sighed, sitting down on his bed and picking up his phone. He stared at the dozens of texts and missed calls off Eva, a sad look in his eye which pained his friend. “If I talk to her I know I’ll say something I’ll regret and make things even worse.”

Isak’s phone buzzed this time and he pulled it out of his pocket to take a look.

Eva

isak can you
please get jonas 
to call me?
please
he has to let me explain
you know that it was a mistake
can you talk to him???
isak!!

Isak stared at the desperate messages sent from Eva and his heart sank. He felt the guilt dig deeper into him like a knife, piercing his soul and burying him in heaps and heaps of regret. His mind kept repeating the same thing over and over: What have you done, Isak? Look what you’ve done.

“Has she said anything to you?” Jonas asked, looking at Isak with an inquisitive gaze. Isak’s eyes quickly flashed up to meet his best friend’s in a sudden movement.

“No.” He answered, maybe a little too fast. You’re making things worse, Isak told himself. Just tell him the truth. But Isak couldn’t. “She’s not said anything to me. If she told anyone it would be those new friends of hers.”

“Yeah, you’re right.” Jonas nodded and Isak internally let out a sigh of relief. He wanted to stay on Jonas’ good side. That’s all he wanted. Is it? A part of Isak questioned and images of a tall blonde boy quickly flashed through the boy’s mind.

Isak’s phone buzzed again and he looked down, expecting to read another heartbreaking text from Eva, begging him to get Jonas to talk to her. But it wasn’t a text from Eva. Instead, it was an Instagram notification.

Even_B_N is now following you

Isak froze and all concerns about his actions left his mind. Instead, his thoughts were once again filled with flashes of perfectly styled blonde hair and bright eyes and a stupid smile. He just wanted to forget. Why wouldn’t he let him forget? Isak’s phone pinged again.

Message from Even_B_N

Isak paused for a moment before cautiously opening the message. Why was Even messaging him? He didn’t want Even to message him. Or do you? A voice echoed in his head.

Even_B_N

Hey, Isak
It’s Even

Isak just stared at Even’s message, unable to bring himself to respond.

Even_B_N

I was just wondering why
you were ignoring me this morning?
I was looking for you but
every time I saw you, you
 quickly left.
I wanted to check if everything
was okay.
You left suddenly the other night
and seemed pretty shaken.
I didn't force you into anything, did I?

Isak’s gaze never left the messages from Even, even when more texts from Eva popped up at the top of the screen.

“Everything okay?” Isak was snapped out of his daze by Jonas’ voice and he looked up to meet his gaze. He shrugged his shoulders before quickly closing his phone and shoving it in his pocket, also trying to push away any thoughts regarding Even that still lingered in his mind.

“Yeah.” The blonde boy muttered. “It’s just my mum.” His parents were an excuse for pretty much everything. He wanted to skip a day of school? His parents were arguing. He couldn’t afford to go out for a kebab with the guys? His dad had left again. He didn’t particularly want to see Jonas and Eva sit making out? His mum was relapsing. Isak knew it was a wrong thing to do, but he just found it easier than telling the actual truth.

“How is she?” The tone of Jonas’ voice was soft and it warmed Isak inside. It helped his running thoughts pause for a moment and a slight smile slipped onto his lips. His best friend was always asking about how things were for Isak at home, always trying to protect him and offer him much needed support. Jonas felt like Isak’s home more than his parents did.

“She’s alright, guess.” Isak shrugged again, his smile turning sad. “Things have been a bit rough lately but we’re making our way through things. My dad’s actually stayed around the past couple of days so…” That part was true. After storming out the other day, Terje attempted to help care for Marianne, even though it usually resulted in Isak doing most of the work as his father struggled. Still, his dad was home and Isak wasn’t left alone.

“Really?” Jonas raised his eyebrows and Isak nodded in return. “I guess that’s decent of him, actually having the balls to stick around. Do you even know where he goes off to when he leaves?”

“No clue.” Isak shrugged, running a hand through his blonde curls. “But it wouldn’t surprise me if he was visiting another woman.” Jonas and Isak had been speculating for a while now if Terje was having an affair or not and, although they never came to a clear conclusion, Isak found that it was probably likely.

Jonas went quiet and it took Isak a few moments to register why. Of course, the subject of affairs would sadden him; he had just found out his girlfriend had cheated on him, after all. “Sorry.” Isak winced. “Bad timing.”

“It’s fine.” Jonas waved Isak off as he fell back onto his sheets. His phone buzzed again. Pausing for a moment, Jonas sighed before picking up his phone and reading the incoming messages from Eva. His eyes were sad and it brought an ache to Isak’ heart. “I can’t say anything to her,” Jonas repeated, dropping his phone onto the bed. “I don’t want to make things worse.”

As Jonas spoke, Isak’s own phone rang again and he fished it out of his pocket to see who it was. He should have guessed, though. Who else would it be?

Even_B_N

How’s your friend?
Eva?

A slight warmth filled Isak and he was reminded of how kind Even could be, especially in comparison to the people he hung around with. This boy was different and Isak still questioned why he was so scared that he would tell someone. Repressing the warm feeling Even had brought to him, Isak hastily typed out a reply.

Even_B_N

dont tell anyone about what happened
it didnt mean anything
please forget it happened


 

After leaving Jonas’, Isak found himself heading over to Eva’s place, feeling the need to comfort her as well as his best friend. It was the least he could do.

“Have you spoken to him?” Eva immediately questioned as Isak climbed through the little window into her room. He could see the tears slowly building up in her eyes and he sighed. This was going to be harder than he thought.

“Yeah.” Isak nodded and Eva quickly bombarded him with more questions again.

“What did he say?” Her voice was desperate and, for a moment, Isak couldn’t find the words in him to respond. What had he done? Why had he done this? “Isak!” Eva pleaded.

The blonde boy gently moved Eva over to her bed and sat down opposite her, avoiding looking into her eyes. “He’s not very happy.”

“But he has to talk to me!” Eva jumped up from the bed as her voice rose in volume. “He has to let me explain!” The desperation in her voice pained Isak.

“Maybe he just needs space or something.” Isak knew that he wasn’t being particularly… honest with his words. He knew what Jonas wanted and he didn’t want to tell Eva just how hurt his best friend was.

“How did he find out?” Eva asked after a few moments and Isak’s blood ran cold. Did she suspect him? Shit, what if she already knew it was him who had started all this?

“The entire school is talking about it.” Isak replied, trying to keep his voice as calm as possible. That was technically true, Jonas had found out because of the school gossip. But it was where the gossip had come from that was Isak’s main concern.

“And he just believed it?” Eva’s face perfectly displayed her pain and Isak was finding it more and more difficult to keep his secret.

“But it’s true.”

“I don’t understand how he could believe a rumour without talking to me first?” Tears began to well up quickly in Eva’s eyes as her voice broke.

“He said he should have figured it out earlier.” What the fuck are you doing? Isak internally shouted at himself as he spoke. Stop. Stop! “You’ve been acting a little random lately.” You’re making things worse, he told himself. You just don’t know when to stop, do you? “Maybe it just made sense.” You’re a fucking arsehole.

The sound of a ringtone disrupted the following silence and Isak watched as Eva quickly opened up her phone. A look of panic consumed her face.

“Is it Jonas?” Isak asked, genuinely intrigued to hear what his best friend had to say after refusing to reply to his girlfriend. Eva never replied, she just continued to rapidly type a response to try and get Jonas to speak to her. But his words were clearly not something she wanted to hear as her face began to crumple and the tears that had built up in her eyes quickly began to fall down her flushed cheeks.

Isak was quick to get off the bed and to wrap his arms around Eva comfortingly. She practically collapsed into his embrace and the sound of her sobs was muffled by his hoodie. “It’ll be okay,” he murmured softly, holding her tightly to his chest. His hands ran up and down her back in a soothing manner, just like what his mum used to do when he was younger and she wasn’t as ill. Eva shook her head and tried to pull back from Isak’s embrace but he wouldn’t let her and, instead, kept her close to him. “It’ll be okay.” He murmured, pressing a kiss to her forehead comfortingly. But will it be okay?

Isak, what have you done?


 

It was dark when Isak finally made it home. He felt emotionally drained from taking care of both Jonas and Eva but he couldn’t help and think that he deserved it. You’re the one who fucked up. You at least have to deal with the consequences.

After checking in on his mother (and, surprisingly, seeing his dad laid beside her) Isak made his way to his room where he collapsed down onto the bed, groaning. He didn’t want to face Jonas or Eva or any of this drama anymore. He especially didn’t want to face Even. He still couldn’t seem to get that boy out of his mind.

As if on command, Isak’s phone lit up with a new message from none other than the Penetrator boy himself.

Even_B_N

Hi, Isak
Is everything okay?

Isak let out a sigh before typing back, determined not to admit the fluttering feeling he felt inside at the sight of the older boy’s words.

Even_B_N

please stop messaging me

I just wanted to know if everything 
was okay.
You were ignoring me all day and
then that stuff with your 
friend happened.
Is she okay?

Isak didn’t respond but Even was not giving up.

Even_B_N

You know I won’t tell anyone, right?
I’m not like that

Isak didn’t understand why, but he suddenly couldn’t control himself and he quickly typed a response to the older boy.

Even_B_N

even, please stop messaging me
just forget what happened the
other night
i dont know what you want but
i'm
not gay

I don’t want anything.
I was asking if you were okay.

leave me alone and just forget what
happened, ok??
it didnt mean anything
i'm not gay

Isak, are you sure you’re okay?

just dont tell anyone

Isak threw his phone aside after that. He couldn’t bring himself to read any more of Even’s kind messages. He just wanted to forget the boy. Maybe that would push away the empty feeling in his chest he now felt after rejecting his kindness. Maybe that would stop the warm feeling he got every time he thought of Even Bech Næsheim.

Chapter Text

A few days had passed since the outing of Eva and Chris’ kiss and Isak was finally taking some time for himself. For the past few days, he had either been with Jonas, Eva or his mother and now he just needed some space. He was overwhelmed with guilt and confusion and shame and still found himself unable to banish the thoughts and feelings from his night with Even that continued to plague him. So Isak decided to take some time out and was sat in Kaffebrenneriet, letting the hours pass by slowly.

Isak had just grabbed his third coffee from the counter when he bumped into someone. Literally. Hot coffee splashed all over him, drenching his hoodie and staining the t-shirt he wore. He swore loudly, shaking his hands as if that was the magic way to dry them before looking up at the culprit who made him spill his drink.

Fuck. Of course, out of all the people it could be it had to be Even. Even whose eyes were wide at the sight of the mess that had been made and was quickly grabbing napkins off the counter to help clean up. “I’m so sorry.” He apologised, his voice soft as he began to rub at the coffee stain on Isak’s shirt with the napkins.

Isak stood frozen, watching Even as he continued to press the tissues against his chest in an attempt to clean up. His cheeks were flushed slightly, partly from embarrassment and partly from the feeling of Even’s hands on him. Quick memories flashed through his head of that night at the party and Isak harshly pushed Even off him. “It’s fine.” He muttered, grabbing napkins out of the older boy’s hand to try and clean himself instead.

“We seem to have a habit of spilling drinks over each other.” Even joked, although his laugh was a little weak. Isak’s thoughts flashed back to the other night and remembered how he had spilt his beer all over Even as they kissed. Fuck. “Anyway, let me go buy you another coffee.” Even was already grabbing his wallet out of his pocket and pulling out money.

“It’s fine,” Isak repeated, his voice not as hard as he wished it was. He watched as Even hesitantly put the money back in his wallet, aware of the younger boy’s slight discomfort. “I don’t need your help.” But you want it, a hidden part of Isak whispered.

After taking one last look at Even, Isak threw the empty cup and sodden napkins in the bin and headed back to the queue to order another drink, one that hopefully wouldn’t end up all over himself.

Isak had placed his order and was about to pay when he realised he didn’t have enough change. “Shit.” He muttered, looking down at the few coins he held in his hand, staring at them as if it would magically make enough money appear. He counted the coins again and again, sending a sheepish smile to the girl at the counter as he did so. Isak could hear the disgruntled noises coming from customers behind him and a ringing in his ear that wouldn’t go away. His face was fully red from embarrassment and he was ready to tell the barista that she should cancel his order when a tall blonde boy stepped forward and handed the right amount of money over.

Isak looked up at Even with wide eyes who, in return, sent him a bright smile. He just wouldn’t leave him alone, would he? He was making it harder for him to forget what they did. And Isak so desperately wanted to forget, he had to forget. He wasn’t like that. But you don’t want to forget, that voice reminded him and, deep down, Isak had to admit that it was right.

“You didn’t have to do that,” Isak mumbled, eyes cast down as Even handed him his new coffee. The older boy shrugged and just smiled happily at the first year, obviously pleased with himself. “I mean it,” Isak looked up to catch the Penetrator’s gaze. He hoped that he came across as confident in his feelings as he hoped. “I don’t need your help.”

“It’s just coffee.” Even rolled his eyes playfully and Isak had to look away to stop even the slightest of smiles making its way to his lips. “It’s not that big of a deal. And anyway, I wanted to talk to you.”

At the sound of those words, Isak quickly turned around and began to head out of the shop, hoping to avoid the conversation Even was trying to start with him. “I gotta go.” He muttered. He heard a sigh come from Even and tried to keep walking.

“It’s okay, you know?” Even spoke up, his voice soft as he followed Isak. Isak internally sighed, this boy just wasn’t going to leave him alone, was he? “Being gay.” Even’s voice was quiet, almost a whisper.

“I’m not gay,” Isak said defensively, spinning around quickly to face Even. “It was just a stupid thing that shouldn’t have happened. So just leave me alone.” Isak knew his voice sounded weak.

“I know it can be confusing.” Even grabbed hold of Isak’s wrist to stop him from leaving and the younger boy let out an irritated sigh but didn’t try to pull his wrist out of Even’s grasp. “I can help you.”

“How many times do I have to tell you? I don’t need your help.” Isak tugged his wrist out of Even’s grasp and pushed the door open to leave. He couldn’t deal with this conversation now. “Please, leave me alone.”

Isak was one step out of the door when Even spoke up again. “How’s your friend? Eva?”

Isak froze in the doorway. In the past few days, he had completely forgotten that Even knew about what he had done, his betrayal. He forgot how that conversation was how things developed between the two, Even reassuring Isak that he wasn’t a bad person or what he did.

Don’t let those decisions define you; you’re more than that.

You’re more than that.

Even was the only one who knew about Isak’s guilt. He was the only one who understood the situation and he was probably the only one who wouldn’t judge Isak for it. You’re more than that. And Isak felt a compulsion to open up to Even once again. So he did.

 “Not good.” Isak finally spoke up, his voice breaking slightly before he slowly turned back around to face Even.

Even sent him a sympathetic smile. “Do you want to talk about it?”

And, for some reason, Isak said yes.


 

“I really fucked up.” Isak looked down at his hands, his eyes sad. “It’s worse than I thought it would be and I don’t know what to do.”

Even reached over the table and grasped Isak’s hand before giving it a reassuring squeeze. The younger boy flinched and quickly withdrew his hand, looking up at Even before quickly averting his gaze. A quiet sigh left the Penetrator boy and he retreated.

“Why did you send the tip to Nissenhook and tell Iben?” Even asked hesitantly, looking at Isak with soft yet inquisitive eyes. Isak didn’t know what to tell him. He had tried to tell himself that he didn’t know why he did it, that it was just a drunken mistake, but he knew himself better than that.

“I…” Isak stuttered as he tried to come up with an answer. “I’m in love with Eva.” He came up with, cringing internally. Deep down he knew it wasn’t Eva he was in love with. “And I guess I just didn’t want her and Jonas to be together anymore and I knew if Eva told Jonas herself he would forgive her.” Isak took a drink of his coffee and held it between his hands to keep them warm. “He’s not good enough for her.” He muttered, breaking his heart as he said so.

“You mean she’s not good enough for him.” Even said softly and Isak’s head shot up to look at the older boy with piercing eyes.

“No,” he said defensively, but he knew it was true and that was what he truly meant.

“Isak, why else would you spread something like that around school when you knew it would ruin her? That’s not something you do to someone you love, even if it is a way to split up them up with their boyfriend.” Even was too smart for Isak’s own good.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Isak huffed, sliding down in his chair slightly in defeat. “It was just a mistake. I was drunk and I didn’t think. I didn’t mean to hurt her. I love her.” It pained Isak to say those words.

Even let out a sigh and shrugged, not pushing Isak any further. He didn’t particularly want to start an argument with the younger boy, even if it would be in an attempt to get him to admit the truth to himself.

The two set in silence for a few minutes. Isak could feel Even’s eyes on him and he refused to lift his own to meet his gaze. He found the older boy too easy to talk to and he knew he would end up admitting things he’d later regret if they continued. He wasn’t ready to risk anything. However, something was eating at his insides and there was a question burning to get out.

“What about… us?” Isak asked hesitantly, slowly looking up at Even cautiously. “Are we going to be the next thing up on Nissenhook?” Even furrowed his eyebrows and a look of hurt and confusion flashed across his face.

“Why would you ask that?” He questioned, his voice quiet, and not in the comforting way it had previously been.

Isak shrugged. “That’s what you lot are notorious for, right?” He arched an eyebrow at Even, who, in return, looked hurt by his words. “Spreading around who you hook up with. Have you told your friends yet?” Isak didn’t understand why he was being so harsh.

“You think I’d do that?” Pain was evident in Even’s voice and Isak regretted what he had said immediately. He knew that Even wasn’t like the other Penetrator boys, so what possessed him to talk to him like he was one?

“I’m sorry.” Isak muttered, running a hand through his blonde curls. Just another thing to feel guilty about.

“I’m not like that.” Even defended himself, his voice sounding a little stronger than before. “I haven’t told anyone about what happened and I don’t plan to. I’m not one to out someone, you know?”

Isak sighed. “I’m not gay.” He repeated, his voice sounding tired. “You wouldn’t be ‘outing’ me. You’d just be creating unnecessary drama.”

Even rolled his eyes frustratingly, unlike the playful nature he had earlier. “Look, I’m not going to say anything, okay? So you can stop worrying.” He downed the rest of his coffee in one gulp before rising from his seat and pulling his jacket on and wrapping his scarf around his neck. “I’ve got to go.”

Isak’s cheeks flushed in shame. “I’m sorry.” He apologised weakly, but he knew the damage had been done and knew that he had offended the older boy. “But thank you,” He sent a small smile to Even who was towering over him. “For not saying anything.”

Even shrugged but returned Isak’s small smile. “It’s fine.” He threw his cup in the bin before sending a small wave to the younger boy. “Bye.”

Isak muttered a ‘bye’ back before turning back to the now empty table and sighing. He ran a hand through his hair again before slumping back into the chair. Why was he such an arsehole? Honestly, it was like he couldn’t help himself.


 

Two hours later Isak had returned home from Kaffebrenneriet. He was exhausted, tired from the sleepless nights, caring for his mother and his constant inner turmoil and ongoing battle with his emotions. He could already tell that this was going to be another restless night, especially because of his confrontation with Even.

Even. Isak couldn’t help the guilt he felt when he thought about what he had said to the third year. It was unfair. Everyone knew that Even was different from the other Penetrator boys; he respected people, was kind to everyone and, well, if he ever hooked up with anyone you wouldn’t hear it from him. It was always from the lucky girl who got to be with him.

Lucky? No. Why would Isak think the girls were lucky? Of course he didn’t think they were lucky, it was just like hooking up with any other guy. There was nothing special about Even Bech Næsheim. Keep telling yourself that, that voice whispered.

Minutes passed by as Isak lay in bed, his thoughts unavoidably wandering to his conversation with Even. He’d seemed genuinely worried, like he actually… cared for Isak. But no, that couldn’t be the case. Even was a nice person, he’d be worried about anyone. That’s what Isak kept telling himself.

A few more moments passed by before Isak grabbed his phone and opened Instagram. He opened up the search bar and hesitated before typing Even_B_N. Isak clicked on the first account that popped up.

Intrigued, Isak began to scroll down and look at the photos Even had posted. There were many of a grey cat that, guessing from the captions, was called Baz. Isak rolled his eyes, what a stupid name.

He continued scrolling, finding pictures of him with Chris, William and the other Penetrators, a bizarre amount of Romeo and Juliet quotes and, like most people at their school, lots and lots of screenshots of music. Isak saw the latest one and cringed. Gabrielle? Of course that would be Even’s type of music. Thinking about it, it didn’t surprise him at all.

Isak’s thumb hovered over Even’s latest post and he paused for a moment before opening it.

Isak found himself mesmerised by the photo. Even always looked so happy, a wide grin always on his lips and forever a brightness in his eye. He couldn’t bring himself to look away from the picture.  

He would never admit it, but Isak found himself staring at the picture of Even for a few minutes. He didn’t understand why it brought to him a sense of… comfort. He had one of those smiles, the smile that is soothing, gentle and reassuring, the smile that makes you believe everything is going to be okay. And perhaps that’s how Isak felt around Even if he wasn’t so buried in conflict and, to some extent, self-hatred.

His harsh words to Even echoed in his head again and Isak found that he couldn’t stop himself when he clicked on their previous messages. His eyes read over their previous exchanges and Isak felt another pang of guilt on top of the mass amount he was feeling already. Even had already reassured him that he wouldn’t tell anyone what happened, why did Isak have to open his mouth and insult the older boy?

Isak’s fingers hovered over the keyboard before slowly beginning to type.

Even_B_N

i’m sorry